Preparations: Tincture of Savin - Fluid Extract of Savine - Savine Cerate - Ointment of Savin
Related entries: Oleum Sabinae (U. S. P.)—Oil of Savine - Juniperus.—Juniper - Oleum Juniperi Virginianae.—Oil of Cedar
The tops of Juniperus Sabina, Linné"—(U.S. P.) (Sabina officinalis, Garcke).
COMMON NAME: Savin-tops.
ILLUSTRATION: Bentley and Trimen, Med. Plants, 254.
Botanical Source.—Juniperus Sabina is an evergreen, very compact shrub, growing from 4 to 16 feet in height, with a disposition to spread horizontally rather than to form a stem. Its branches are slender, round and tough, with the bark of the young branches pale-green, of the trunk rough. The leaves are very small, ovate, convex, dark-green, densely imbricated, erect, decurrent, and opposite; the oppositions pyxidate. Flowers dioecious. The fruit is a deep-purple, almost black, ovoid berry, about the size of a whortleberry, and smaller than that of J. communis (L.—W.).
History, Description, and Chemical Composition.—This plant is indigenous to middle and southern Europe, Siberia, and in the northern United States, in rocky situations. The parts used are the tops and leaves. They have a powerful, peculiar, rather disagreeable odor, a bitter, acrid, biting taste, and yield their properties to alcohol, or hot water in infusion. Desiccation renders them of a lighter color. The drug is officially described as "short, thin, subquadrangular, branchlets; leaves rather dark-green, in 4 rows, opposite, scale-like, ovate-lanceolate, more or less acute, appressed, imbricated, on the back with a shallow groove containing an oblong or roundish gland; odor peculiar, terebinthinate; taste nauseous, resinous, and bitter"—(U. S. P.). Gardes found them to contain volatile oil (see Oleum Sabinae), resin, gallic acid, chlorophyll, extractive, lignin, and calcareous salts. In addition to these, Mr. C. H. Needles found fixed oil, gum, and salts of potassium (Amer. Jour. Pharm., Vol. XIII, 1841, p. 15).
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Savin is emmenagogue, diuretic, diaphoretic, and anthelmintic. In large doses it will produce gastro-enteritis. Care must be taken in its administration, as it has, in several instances, produced fatal results. It should never be given when there is any general or local inflammation present, and it should never be used during pregnancy, on account of its tendency to cause abortion, and yet, notwithstanding this effect, it is reputed efficient in checking the tendency to abort, and to be beneficial in menorrhagia, when carefully exhibited in small doses. It is also serviceable in atonic leucorrhoea, amenorrhoea, with torpor, irritative urethral diseases, and vesical catarrh, in all cases being contraindicated by an excited circulation. The oil (Oleum Sabinae), given 2 or 3 times a day, in doses of from 10 or 15 drops on sugar, will, in most cases, cause abortion, but it is apt to violently affect the stomach and bowels at the same time, bringing life into extreme danger. It is sometimes combined with oils of tansy, pennyroyal, or hemlock, as an emmenagogue and abortivant, and given in doses of 2 to 5 drops. Sometimes the leaves of savin are combined with pink and senna and given to remove worms. Savin oil will also frequently remove them, but we have more efficient and much safer remedies for this purpose. Externally, the leaves, made into a cerate, have been used as a stimulant to indolent ulcers, and to promote a discharge from blistered parts. Mixed with an equal weight of verdigris, the powdered leaves have been used for destroying venereal warts. Dose of the powdered leaves, from 5 to 15 grains in syrup, 3 times a day; of the fluid extract, from 5 to 10 drops; of the strong tincture (℥viii to alcohol, 76 per cent, Oj), from 1 to 5 drops; of the infusion, from ½ to 2 fluid ounces.
Specific Indications and Uses.—"Suppressed menses, with colicky pains, general fullness of veins, headache" (Watkins, Ec. Comp. of Prac. of Med.).
Related Species.—Juniperus virginiana, Linné, is a tree which attains the height of 35 feet, or even more. Its trunk varies from 10 to 14 inches in diameter, is straight, and decreases rapidly from the ground, giving off many horizontal branches; its surfaces are generally unequal, and disfigured by knots, and by the crevices and protuberances they occasion. Small twigs, covered with minute, densely imbricated leaves, which are fleshy, ovate, concave, rigidly acute, with a small depressed gland on the middle of their outer side, growing in pairs which are united at the base to each other, and to the pairs above and below them. (A singular variety sometimes appears in the young shoots, especially those which issue from the base of the trees; this consists in an elongation of the leaves to 5 or 6 times their usual length, while they become spreading, acerose, remote from each other, and irregular in their insertion, being either opposite or ternate; such shoots are so dissimilar to the parent tree, that they have been repeatedly mistaken for individuals of a different species.) Barren flowers, in small oblong aments, formed by peltate scales with the anthers concealed within them. Fertile flowers form a small roundish galbus, with 2 or 3 seeds, covered on its outer surface with a bright-blue powder (L.—B.). The red cedar is a tree which inhabits almost all parts of the United States, especially the southern, preferring dry, rocky situations, and barren soils. It is evergreen, growing very slowly, and flowering in April and May. The internal wood is of a dull-reddish hue, fine-grained, and compact, very light and durable, and is much used for tubs, pails, lead-pencils, fences, etc. The parts used are the leaves and twigs. They have a characteristic, rather agreeable odor, and a peculiar, somewhat acrid and amarous taste. Their virtues are taken up by alcohol or ether, and partly by hot water, and are due to essential oil (see Oleum Juniperi Virginianae). The leaves are often confounded with those of Juniperus Sabina, which have an entirely different smell. According to Jenks, the leaves yield gum, albumen, volatile oil, tannic acid, resin, bitter extractive, chlorophyll, fatty matter, woody fiber, etc. (Amer. Jour. Pharm., Vol. XIV, p. 235). Excrescences known as cedar apples, are frequently formed on the branches, and occasioned, like galls, by the pricking of an insect; they have a somewhat agreeable odor, and an austere taste. These are sometimes powdered and administered successfully as a vermifuge, the dose being from 10 grains to ½ drachm, in some convenient vehicle, and repeated every 4 hours through the day. The medical properties and uses are the same as for the Juniperus Sabina; less energetic, but used in the same diseases; also with spearmint and marshmallows, in scalding of urine, and derangements of the kidneys and bladder. The oil makes a valuable external stimulating application for rheumatic pains, bruises, etc. Dose of the leaves, from 1 to 2 drachms; of the oil, from 10 to 15 drops. The excrescences, or cedar apples, are decided anthelmintics. The following makes a pleasant and excellent vermifuge and tonic for pale, sickly children; I have used it with much success: Take of cedar apples,1 pound; of black alderberries (Prinos verticillatus), 1 pint, by measure. Digest these, for 14 days, in 1 quart of alcohol and 1 pint of molasses. The more recent the articles, the better. Dose, 1 fluid drachm, 3 times a day, for a child 1 or 2 years old; it is a laxative, tonic, and vermifuge (J. King)